Ford can probably argue that the claims are not supported by the specification.
Traditional fuel injection systems spray a fine mist of fuel in such a way that it washes over the valve(s) from the top of the engine cylinder, which has an added effect of “cleaning” off some carbon/particulate build up that naturally occurs. Direct injection variants typically inject the fuel mist more directly in the cylinder, in a tighter time frame to the piston reaching its optimal position in the firing cycle, with the injector(s) generally placed in a position where they are not wasting as much fuel bathing valves and such, which can lead to carbon buildups that wouldn’t normally occur with more standard fuel injection systems.
To those that know much better than me, I apologize for butchering the explanation and do feel free to correct my poor explanation- no offense will be taken.
I have an F-150 EcoBoost and have been a lifelong gearhead. I was worried about carbon buildup on direct injection and spent some time researching the motor before buying (I bought a used 2015 in 2018, so lots of factory bulletins and long term maintenance feedback). It seems to not be too bad of an issue _but_ an additional mitigation step can be taken by installing a two stage oil separator inline to help capture the materials before they build up. It’s popular enough that there are direct fit products for many makes/models of autos with DI, as well as universal fit. I however, have seen no conclusive long term studies to the actual effectiveness of them long term.
That being said, I could see how it would be effective and after installing my collector kit I have seen no obvious negative consequences. Fuel mileage, perceived performance, objective dyno performance have all been the same or slightly (very slightly) better.
Yes, I did spend time (1 month) collecting before and after data, and I have access to a rear wheel dyno to collect as objective data as I could.
I’m not certain how IP rights works at MIT, but if the patents are owned by MIT, wouldn’t MIT be the party that needs to sue? If so, why is it instead “Ethanol Boosting Systems”? Does MIT feel that MIT IP was stolen?
>The professors transferred ownership of their creations to MIT, one of the premier U.S. research universities, which then granted exclusive patent-licensing rights to a small company the three men founded, Ethanol Boosting Systems LLC. EBS offered to license patents on the enhancements to Ford in 2014, but the company declined.
If EBS doesn't get paid, then MIT doesn't get paid.
A Delaware docket search indicates the patents in question are US 8,069,839 B2 ;US 9,255,519 B2 ;US 9,810,166 B2 ;US 10,138,826 B2
The 826 issued end of November, 2018. Independent claims 12, 21, and 31 are for dual injection system engines.
Given that Bloomberg indicate only infringement of one patent, I speculate that is the 826 patent issued in late 2018. Now that 826 is issued, they are able to pursue.
826 is a continuation filing in the family that starts with 7,314,033. I haven't looked at the family, nor tried to make any appraisal of merit.
Said the car company exec... Jesus what balls. Still, MIT isn’t exactly small and lacking funding, so I’d expect this to drag on until an inevitable undisclosed settlement.
Their culture is different. In the west, we think you’re really something if you invent or innovate something on your own. Their view is it doesn’t matter if you take something from someone because you still have to work to do something with the concept or technology.
I get their perspective. On one hand, yeah it sucks if you work hard or invest massive capital to innovate in some area. On the other hand, if your economy is at an advantage, others in the emerging world are left behind and they’ll always be playing catch up, paying royalties, or locked out completely.
Thats a rather convenient rationalization for poor behavior.
It's as if it's a matter of worldview, rather than some fixed idea that this is good or this is bad. It's also as if their version is closer to the "information wants to be free", "down with patents" etc spirit.
(Not that their companies do it out of altruistic ideology. But for the spirit of the culture at large, that can be said, as it is more communal and less individualistic, e.g. see Confucianism).
Then there's the "We stole foreign IP by the truckloads when we didn't have many inventions of our own to bootstrap ourselves with, but now that we're the ones inventing stuff nobody should do it anymore" rationalization...
Isn't the "effort and risk" usually what those in favor of patents propose? Lest there's no compensation of the inventor for their effort, and we stop having inventions or something?
I completely agree.
However this doesn't make taking an idea and running wild with it acceptable either. There is some grey area here.
Yeah, aside from that stealing something from someone who created it takes the same effort as that expended by the rightful owner.
Applying language for material items (like "stealing") to IP only muddies the waters. There's plenty of cases where one could find moral justification for compensating the "inventor" (e.g. countless of hours invested in try-and-error search, use of expensive equipment), and there's plenty more of cases where the purported "inventor" is just a greedy asshole trying to get rich by abusing the society (e.g. patent trolls, DMCA abuse, speculative patenting by companies and individuals alike). In times where IP frameworks are both misaligned with the nature of information, and frequently abused to prevent the very things they're ostensibly meant to promote, this whole space needs a total overhaul.
China's approach may be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but taking a global view of technological development, it's probably for the better.
You might argue that "finding" or "discovering" stuff is not work and in naive cases you are right. Regarding wheat, though:
* There is a lot of work that has gone into virtually all edible wheat varieties. We don't eat wild wheat.
* Finding stuff you can actually eat was at one time a lot of work, and sometimes dangerous.
* Saving seeds and saving the knowledge of identifying characteristics of food stuffs was at one time far more difficult than it is now.
If people do work, and we benefit from it, and they don't benefit from us benefitting, that's crooked.
In this particular example, from a more global point of view, it would be best if the farmer who discovered new food was incentivized to share the knowledge without restrictions, as widely as possible, because not doing so means lots of unnecessary people sick or dead.
> If people do work, and we benefit from it, and they don't benefit from us benefitting, that's crooked.
I agree, but there has to be diminishing returns on that benefit. Otherwise, each discovery is forever holding the civilization hostage. You can't run an economy based mostly on rewarding the estates of inventors for their past inventions. At some point the discovery has to be owned collectively, by everyone, and become a building block for next discoveries.
Current western IP systems sorta recognize that, at least in theory. In practice, we're dealing with a) protection periods not reflecting the reality of modern industries, and essentially putting a brake on progress; b) a system that's thoroughly gamed, and no longer serves the interests of society. Between ridiculous copyright extensions, vague patents, obvious patents, speculative patents, trolling, rights trading, MAD via patents, the system legitimizes rent seeking, and does not incentivize people to create/discover things in order for them to benefit the whole.
Imo calling it poor behavior is subjective. If your culture doesn’t value being the first to discover or invent something like the west, then any notion of it being poor behavior falls apart.
To be clear, I’m not defending the behavior. If my invention was stolen, I’d be upset. I am, however, presenting the other side the way it was explained to me.
> We moderate HN to mitigate the worst aspects of this, but there's no hope of eliminating it. HN is controlled by its community. All that moderation can do is adjust the margins.
it's still rampant. You mitigate the worst aspect of it but you're still left with a anti-Chinese circle jerk.
Other users flagrantly violate the rules without issue because they hold the prevailing opinion.
The anti-Chinese Communist Party sentiment more like. And I would be worried if the mods did care.
I would be surprised if MIT-Ford didn't have a lot of legalese set down for just such an occurrence. MIT has been closely tied to industry for good and bad.
If I'm Ford, I surely would have triple checked every IP angle before putting a new technology in every single vehicle I make. So I'm just guessing that there was some original arrangement which now looks inadequate for the inventors. That or Ford's lawyers messed up in a big way. Just speculating of course.
Perhaps they should have known in this particular case. Maybe they did and moved forward anyway.
But in the more general case it turns out that this is pretty much impossible to do, in practice.
How could you possibly be sure that you didn't infringe on any patents when there are hundreds of thousands granted every year in the US alone, and they are deliberately written in the most vague and obscure language possible?
What companies do instead is build a library of their own patents, which they can use against any other entity that sues them for patent infringement. The Apple vs. Samsung patent wars are a good example of this. This strategy generally works if the other party actually makes some sort of thing and is not a patent troll.
This is one of the many reasons that the patent system isn't really a net positive for society. Instead, it can be considered a tax on anyone who participates in it, and society as a whole.
Except for patent attorneys, they make tons and tons of money off it. Everyone else loses.
A clearly novel invention (intermittent windshield wipers) that took decades and more than $10M legal fees to get paid for.
"Someone would've eventually invented this" can be said about everything we use. Someone would've figured out the Internet, internal combustion, flying, etc. That doesn't mean it's not a notable accomplishment to do so.
Anytime there's a foot race to the patent office, we, the consumers, are the inevitable loser.
Also it’s a pretty good movie. So likely not a total waste of time either way.
This disregards the strategy of actively predicting the risk of infringing a patent and maximizing profit even after damages are considered.
Your approach is the expectation. The reality is quite a bit darker.
Kind of backfired. After several dozen people burned to death in what should have been unremarkable rear-end collisions, it was revealed that Ford had deliberately declined to implement redesigns for safety in favor of just handling the claims because they estimated the costs would be lower (to pay claims vs implement redesign). The subsequent cases set several precedents & provoked reforms.
I was not implying any moral judgement transfer, only the similarity of bad results of failing to deal with issues up front.
Failure to get accurate information before spouting off is apparently also not new.
There is an interesting movie, "Flash of Genius," about Robert Kearns, an inventor and his interactions with Ford over the "delayed windshield wiper."
I won't reveal any details over the movie plot but there is a short scene where Kearns is lecturing his engineering students about engineering ethics, which reminds me of a documentary by PBS: "NOVA: Holocaust on Trial" (2000)
I cannot find this last movie anywhere, but <youtube> has it available. Should be mandatory viewing for engineers, but it is difficult to watch or listen to the details.
It's kind of like "doing X on the Web" patents where X itself is common and/or unpatentable. Adding web-ness shouldn't change the patentability of X, but for some odd reason it has. When new parts and tools come along, they make the mundane possibly seem innovative for a while until people or judges understand that the new tools are not magic.
The web-based-auction patents are an example. They simply automated manual auctions; any programmer/analyst with industry experience can do that. Running it in a browser didn't make it special, but that apparently bedazzled patent reviewers. (Copyrights can cover look and feel, but I'm talking about functionality.)
The patent office simply does not take seriously, "must be non-obvious to persons having ordinary skill in the art". If 90% of experienced programmer/analysts can code up a web auction system, it's not obvious.
The patent in question describes a two tank system with separate gasoline and ethanol. Afaik, Ford is not doing anything like that.